ShareThis Page

Judges: Originalists vs. progressives

| Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Vetting for the judiciary is a particularly challenging exercise because, as it should be, judicial candidates are prohibited from expressing publicly their views on particular issues, thus exhibiting their endeavor for impartiality. Therefore, the onus falls on voters to understand philosophically what they seek in a judicial candidate.

Naturally, each judge's personal views fall somewhere on a broad spectrum. An originalist reveres the U.S. Constitution as a document intended to enshrine timeless, universal, fundamental principles into a form of government whose task is to defend the greatest degree of individual freedom possible. A judge of this disposition will tend to adhere closely to what is written in the document, interpreting text against a backdrop of its original intent.

A progressive will revere the U.S. Constitution as a crucial historical element in the advancement of the human condition but esteems that evolving times necessitate changes in policy and principle which might not be aptly reflected in the Constitution as written. A judge of this disposition is inclined to seek decisions he or she believes better suit the needs of the era and hopes to shape future policy through precedent.

Therefore, it becomes incumbent on the voter to determine if he or she wishes to empower judges who intend to uphold the original intent of the Constitution or those who seek to reshape policy based on current trends. This is the homework of the voter.

Stacey West

Sewickley Heights

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.